Havill’s is celebrating 65 years in business this year, and that’s an achievement that the team is very proud of. Alan Havill, our owner and president took over the company in 1993, but practically grew up here and has sweet childhood memories of coming to work with his dad, Stanley. “Back then there would have been 50 homes on the site, and I’d have run crazy through them with my sister,” reminisces Alan. “Our weekend drives always involved going through one of the various manufactured housing communities that dad had under construction, watching them put in homes in.”
Every summer Alan worked in the service department and learning various facets of the business, but didn’t expect that one day he would take over. “It wasn’t until I was getting ready to graduate from my business administration degree at the Mount that I knew I wanted to work in the family business and brought it up with dad. Then he started to open doors for me,” says Alan, who ended up buying the business. Having learned the business from the inside out, Alan came in with a wealth of experience as well as new ideas how to grow the business. He has seen huge changes in all the years he has been involved in this industry.
“The homes have changed a great deal since I was a kid. Back in the 1950s the homes were little bigger than a travel trailer, 8 feet wide by 30 feet long. In the early 60s they went to 10 feet wide and perhaps a little bit longer, then in the mid-60s 12 feet wide, and by the late 1960s they were 14 foot wide,” says Alan, adding that in the late 60s is when mini home manufacturing started in Canada, prior to that mini homes were being brought in from the States.
The Havill’s family first became interested in mini homes thanks to Alan’s uncle, Bruce. “At that time Uncle Bruce was a surveyor with the Department of Transportation, building highways. He would travel from location to location throughout the province, and he had the choice of either leave his family behind or relocating them to an area where he was working. While looking through a trade magazine for surveyors, he saw an ad for mobile homes on wheels, so he visualized buying one that he could take wherever his job took him and his family could move with him,” says Alan. “Eventually he took that to his father my grandfather, Walter, and his brother Doug, and collectively they decided to see what this was about. They took a few cars out to Ontario to buy a few homes and bring them back here.”
That was back in 1953, and led to Havill’s opening their first location, which was located right next to where The Chicken Burger still stands. Over the next few years the company grew, and 1958 Stanley got involved. Two more locations opened, and eventually in the late 80s as the older brothers decided they were ready to retire, the businesses consolidated to be run by Stanley, and converged to the current location at Rocky Lake Drive. It has long been a family affair, and the mini home parks that Stanley built are still managed by members of the Havill’s family.
Alan is proud to helm the business that his father built, especially as not all family businesses thrive when one generation takes over from another. “I feel very fortunate,” says Alan, “I’ve worked side by side with great people for all these years, and am happy to say that they are among the very best people in this business.”
We love that Havill’s has a legacy of quality, and holds strong its commitment to the highest levels of customer service – something that we recognize is lacking in many businesses these days. We genuinely care about our customers, and many of the team at Havill’s has worked there for most of their lives, which is a testament to the way the company treats everyone like family, whether or not their last name is Havill’s.
Tags: customer service, families, havill's team, havills history